Every leader has specific traits and characteristics that help build a cohesive set of skills needed to successfully manage a team. And while no two leaders are alike, they do posses similar qualities that, when utilized effectively, help their employees flourish in their roles. From strong communication to empowering others to effective conflict management, each leader’s skillset can make the difference between a high performing, motivated team to a disgruntled, actively disengaged group of employees with one foot out the door. In this monthly series, we will examine 12 specific skills that leaders can embrace to become the best versions of themselves.
Skill: Emotional Intelligence
Subsets: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Social Skills, Empathy, Motivation
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is one of the most important skills a leader can cultivate to successfully lead and develop their employees. Defined by Oxford’s Dictionary of Psychology, EQ is “the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.” Cultivating this skill is key to helping your team thrive. According to New York Times Best-Selling Author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence can be broken down into five separate subsets, including self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation.
This skill requires the leader to have a clear and accurate view of themselves, their qualities and strengths, as well as weaknesses. One of the most damaging qualities some professionals have is blind spots regarding their leadership or work styles. Understand that fully opening up to oneself about good and bad qualities will help leaders better connect with their teams.
Some leaders fail to self-regulate in a successful way, going from one extreme to another. Some may want to completely cut out their emotions while others feel it’s important to be an open book about how they feel. Successful leaders learn how to walk the tight rope regarding their emotions, focusing on self-regulation and being calm and collective when issues arise.
While effectively communicating with your team is one of the most important skills a leader must possess, social skills go even further, including interacting with your teammates, engaging in appreciation, acknowledgement, emotional connection, and employee understanding. Focus on being better at “reading the room” and connecting with others.
The difference between being sympathetic and being an empathetic leader can be all the difference needed to help build a cohesive, connected team. It’s important to not only know of the issues at the office but to focus on why your employees feel a certain way and how it affects their job satisfaction. Know that your decisions can help build up or tear down your workforce—for better or for worse.
Knowing what helps your team stay motivated in their roles is important to maintain prolonged productivity and job satisfaction. The only way to work on this is by connecting one-on- one with employees. Everyone is motivated differently and driven by diverse passions. Open the lines of communication to understand your employees more.
By focusing on these five subsets, you can make the most of your EQ by building the needed qualities to help better support your team.
What skills do you think are the most important for leaders? How do you make the most of the skills you possess? Let us know in the comments section below!